Library Lions and Building Style

Roswell P. Flower Memorial Library

Library Lion located outside the front of the building

This gem of a library was made possible by Emma Flower Taylor’s generosity and dedication to the people of Watertown. The library is in the Grecian style of architecture and has many Roman features that are adapted to modern requirements.

The two stone lions in front of the library are not original to the building. They were added in June, 1905. The Watertown Herald reported that “The new Flower Library is being further beautified by Mrs. J. B. Taylor… At each side of the front doors and on the front steps, bronze lamps will be placed, while two marble lions will guard the entrance.”

The two stone lions came from Italy on the order of Mrs. Emma Flower Taylor.

Over the years, the lions have needed repairs. One of the lions had a tooth broken off and it was reported that “the big beast never winced when dentist W. W. Puffer did the job.”

A lion was first “injured” in 1925 by a falling maple tree. In 1982, a lion lost his tail. This time, the lion lost his tail when a 12 year old boy leaned against the lion. The tail fell onto the library steps and broke into several pieces.

The library lions officially gained their names in 2024. As part of the 120th anniversary celebration, staff held a contest asking community members to suggest names for each lion. The contest was open for one month, after which staff and board members voted together to choose the victor. In the end, library patron Mr. Thom Peterson won with the inspired names Hart and Henry – names he chose with a nod to their historic connection, tying the library from 2024 forward to two of Watertown’s founding fathers.

Photo congratulating our Lion Naming Contest winner.

Hart Massey was born in 1771 in Salem, New Hampshire and moved his family to Watertown in 1800. As one of the Watertown’s first settlers, Massey played a large role in the development of the area in many vital sectors of life: the area’s first religious meetings were held in his home, he helped create the local Agriculture Society, he became county judge and held numerous other offices, and he held the office of collector in Sacket’s Harbor during the War of 1812. He passed in 1853 at the age of 81.

Henry Coffeen arrived in Watertown in March of 1800 at the same time that the town of Watertown was created. Coffeen played a pivotal role in the decision-making, most of which we see present in today’s society. For example: along with Hart Massey, Henry Coffeen was a part of a group of settlers who gifted to the public a portion of land to ensure a public mall forevermore, creating today’s public square. We also see Coffeen’s presence in the creation of a bridge in 1803 that allowed for ease of access by state roads, and an eventual saw and grist mill in the Watertown village as well. He passed in 1820 near 56 years of age.

Looking to learn more about Hart Massey and Henry Coffeen? Visit the library’s catalog to search for materials on both founding fathers.